PANGVengers PANGSsemble - The PANArt Family Pang Jam

While PANArt themselves (at time of writing) move increasingly away from the HandPan form of musical instruments, that their creation, the Hang, gave birth to.  Their activities, as the inventors of this instrument type, will always be of interest to the HandPan community.  And this week has seen some interesting new videos uploaded to PANArt's YouTube channel, not least of which, is the video titled, ‘PANArt Pangensemble: Hands on Pang’ - a PANArt family-style jam, that features some of their latest creations made from their patented Pang material - with lyrics, that have already attracted controversy...

The video itself shows off some of PANArt’s more recent creations, the percussive, Urgu, and the stringed: Pang Sei, Pang Sui, and Pang Sai.  With Felix Rohner on vocals.  

And while in general, we’ve been less captivated by PANArt’s newer inventions, than we were, and indeed are, the Hang.  It’s still very much an enjoyable performance.  With the instruments sounding great - and being played with skill...

The Hang itself of course is absent, as it usually is in recent times, publicly strengthening PANArt’s move away from the instrument that brought them to the attention of a worldwide audience.  And fitting - in that while much of the rest of the world appears to disagree - the PANArt crew, and seemingly; Felix in particular, do not believe the Hang (and with it the entire HandPan sub-culture) to be PANArt's greatest contribution to the world. But that Pang, the material from which the Hang was born, is.

Some have made note of PANArt’s slightly-mournful looking demeanour - and while it’s true that the performance is not particularly upbeat, as somebody who has as yet, been equally unable to master the Daniel Waples-like grin while performing, and looks equally pained (particularly when being filmed) - I try not to draw too much from that - other than perhaps, that not everybody feels truly comfortable putting themselves out there for, and under, the inevitable scrutiny of the internet.  Analysis, and scrutiny that goes double, when you happen to be PANArt - considering the somewhat uneasy relationship they have, with a sizeable percentage of those who adore their instruments (and the Hang in particular).  

It is the lyrics of the piece however, that have caused most discussion - being seemingly rich in the kind of dogma, and condemnations, of which PANArt are often accused.  Some of which, may be coincidental (such as Felix’s use of the word ‘Halo’), or due to poor translation, yet other lyrics are impossible to confuse.  Such as:Hands on Pang is more than an electronic sample of an app”, and “More than clicks on a plastic handpan shell”, which appear to be referring to devices such as the Oval (or equally, instruments that PANArt consider to be made from inferior materials to their own Pang).  And the lines “More than a performance on YouTube, More than a kick for people in the tube…” - which (despite the PANArt crew themselves now fairly frequently uploading videos to their own channel), seem to reflect their somewhat known disapproval of the YouTube performers, and street artists - that use their instruments, to 'obtain kudos for themselves' (ego).

Regardless though, the performance, and the instruments are enjoyable. And with the Hang-makers having had little in the way of an online presence until the last year or so, any genuine insight into who, and what, they are; is interesting - shrouded in mystery as they have been.

And should PANArt's latest video offering, lead to some kind of 'Hip-Hop style' tit-for-tat musical showdown, with other makers who have taken offence - should the Pantheon Steel guys grab a couple of Halo, wheel out their Grandma to accompany them on the spoons, and pen a retaliatory musical diatribe in response - all the better. :)

Because those who understand PANArt's native dialect, often suggest that much of the humour is lost in translation - when converted to English. And in this instance, in this case, we're going to choose to believe (despite some doubts), that there's more of that, to this, than meets the eye...

Catch the latest videos from PANArt over at their YouTube channel: HERE

Organic Plastics - And the Hang / Gubal Protective Case

Made available with later generation PANArt Hang, and now (at time of posting) with the Gubal, these cases are made from “Organic Plastics” - and while we’ll always have a special kind of love for the first generation Hang cases, among others, such as the Evatek, there is something appealing about these PANArt supplied protective cases - made from natural fibre composites.

The natural fibre reinforced plastics used in the production of these cases, utilise such renewable materials as: Hemp, Flax, and Kenaf.  In addition to plastics, and additives.  To create a material with a property potential that combines the advantages of both raw materials.

“Natural fiber composites are far superior to conventional plastic materials from both an economic as well as an ecological point of view. They are break-resistant, temperature-insensitive, thermally stable and excellently suited for molding and varnishing. Mostly, however, they impress with their low weight. In the production process, natural fiber composites relieve the environment; they are CO2 neutral, energy-saving, reasonably priced and can be recycled…” - Taken from manufacturer's website.

These cases are produced in Germany, by Jakob Winter GmbH (!You can read more about organic plastics over at their website),  as part of their GreenLine range. Though, to our knowledge, they are only available to purchase, directly from PANArt - alongside one of their creations.

Portugal’s Got Talent - Kabeção Rodrigues on HandPan

This post may now be a little belated, but regardless, it is an event that we wanted to record, as having happened.  Over the years, we’ve taken a certain fascination, in hearing for the first time, the sounds of HandPan playing on the radio, the first appearance of these instruments in a television commercial jingle, and the first time we heard one, unexpectedly, in a movie soundtrack.
And while, as we understand it, Kabeção (Carlos) Rodrigues, was not the very first HandPan performer to appear on a “Wherever’s Got Talent” type TV show - Kabeção’s participation in “Portugal’s Got Talent” (April 2015), did garner significant support, and following, within the HandPan community - with Kabeção making it all the way through to the final, and representing the HandPan scene in spectacular fashion - playing simultaneously: Sunpan, Echo Sound, and Halo (among other instruments)...

In addition to exposing the sounds of the HandPan to Portugal's masses - Kabeção Rodrigues stands among the most inspiring of HandPan performers full-stop, offering up compositions that are both technically proficient, and emotive...

You can follow Kabeção Rodrigues over at Facebook HERE to keep up with his latest activities, or find him over at YouTube HERE to listen further.

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